Children’s Center to expand and accommodate about 100 more kids each year.
AUGUSTA – Children’s Center, an early childhood intervention and family support services organization for children with special needs, has announced three major gifts toward its fundraising efforts to expand its primary location in Augusta. The gifts of $250,000 each come from two families and a business in the Augusta area who have all seen the importance of the work being done at Children’s Center, and understand there is greater demand in the region.
“We are proud to strengthen our long-standing commitment to the Children’s Center with a lead gift,” said Andrew Silsby, president & CEO of Kennebec Savings Bank. “When I heard the campaign presentation, I was struck by the fact that there are over 100 children on waiting lists due to capacity issues. We know that early intervention is critical to helping children with special needs lead full lives. The children on these waiting lists simply cannot get that critical time back in their development. This capital project will make it possible for the Children’s Center to ensure no child in our community has to wait to receive the services they need. We must all act now to ensure success.”
“The work that is being done at Children’s Center is beyond essential,” said Norm Elvin, a major donor along with his wife Teresa. Elvin is also owner of G&E Roofing in Augusta. “Because the work of Children’s Center is so essential, they have grown beyond their own walls. This expansion will help many more children and families access vital services for early childhood development for kids with special needs. It will also help to create a brighter path for success for kids in Central Maine.”
“A child’s earliest years are critical to their long-term prospects,” said David Flanagan, another major donor along with his wife Kay. “There are things beyond our control — creating physical space for every child in our community who needs access to early childhood intervention services isn’t one of them. Kaye and I feel called to be part of the solution for these kids and families and the way we are able to do that is through this gift and our continued support of this mission.”
Children’s Center announced its plans last month to expand its primary location in Augusta to meet demand. The organization provides center-based services for children ages six weeks to five years old and outpatient services, including occupational therapy, speech therapy, outpatient mental health for children and families, and case management support to kids up to age 21. Annually, the Center serves more than 250 children between its four sites: Augusta, Farmington, Skowhegan and Waterville. All sites have waiting lists with Augusta’s being the largest at nearly 100 children in need of center-based or outpatient services at any given time.
Children’s Center will expand its current Augusta facility by 14,000 square feet, while renovating 5,000 square feet of existing space. The expansion will more than double the space and provide additional classrooms, specialized service areas and administrative space. The expansion will also create additional gross motor space, a stimulation-sensitive entrance and lobby, solar installation for improved energy efficiency and a reduced carbon footprint, and the state’s only Snoezelen Room.
“The age range served by Children’s Center is especially important,” said Jeff Johnson, Children’s Center executive director. “By the time a child is six-years-old, 95 percent of their neurotransmitter pathways are developed. These pathways are responsible for movement, speech, and human connection, ultimately determining a person’s ability to relate to and function in the world. Through early childhood intervention, the person inside every special needs child is enabled to develop through feelings, expressions, and learning. The three major gifts being announced today will help enable the expansion of this facility to take place, and to allow 100 children in this area who are currently on a waiting list have a better opportunity to develop at their critical age.”
Children’s Center offerings cover a wide range of services, including specialized programming for children with autism, complex medical needs and global delays; behavioral day treatment for children with a history of trauma, emotional regulation and mental health needs; and a recently established fully accredited Special Purpose Private School, allowing children in need of a specialized environment to continue learning at Children’s Center for their kindergarten year.
Children’s Center has served the Greater Augusta Area since 1967 as Mid-State United Cerebral Palsy, Inc. After several moves, the doors to the current building opened in December of 1978. The building, located on the corner of Alden Avenue and Worcester Street in Augusta, was expanded in 2001, increasing its capacity to 60 center-based children.
More details about Children’s Center can be found at www.ChildrensCTR.org.